Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END

By Josh Eliot

 

When I read Will Seagers' blog last week, it got me reminiscing about my years in San Francisco and, even though I was there nearly a decade after Will, I fell in love with the city just as much. So… Flashback, 1981. When I ended my second blog, FRANK ROSS: The Boss, I was still working for the Screening Room Theater in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district and the summer of 1981 was approaching. It’s a little fuzzy as to whether the theater had an ownership change to Savages at this point, but I do remember Frank Ross being in a very different head space. One day on his way to work, Frank was walking down Jones Street and, when he was just a block away, a man jumped from the top of a building and landed not more than five feet in front of him. This messed him up immensely, and justifiably so. I was in the ticket booth when he came in trembling and with a face full of tears as he told me what happened. I jumped up from the stool and just hugged him, while he shook uncontrollably. It took a long time for Frank to get over what had happened; some things you just can’t “un-see.” My on-again, off-again quickies with TK, the hot stripper from the theater, had settled into the off-again stage permanently as he became involved with an equally hot blond stripper more around his age.

 

Savages Theater, formerly the Screening Room Theater

Savages Theater, formerly the Screening Room Theater

 

I was 18 years old and could count on one hand how many sexual trysts I'd had. I didn’t count the customers at the theater who would cruise me from the lobby while I sat in the ticket booth. Occasionally when the coast was clear I would step back into the theater, during a ten-minute break, and let one of them blow me if they were cute enough. That didn’t count as sex in my book, just customer service at it’s finest. I was still settling into the fact that I was now out of the closet and not very experienced. On one of my days off, I decided to throw caution to the wind and set off for a day trip to Lands End. Months earlier, TK and the strippers took me there after a night at the Trocadero Transfer Disco and filled me in on its history. There was a nude beach you could hike to on a path that started at the Cliff House and old Sutro Bathhouse. It was a downhill trail all the way to a cove, and supposedly along the way there were men in the bushes going at it.

I’m embarrassed to say, I put on my favorite corduroy brown cut off, “short shorts” and headed to the beach, knapsack attached, on the #38 Geary street bus to Lands End. The ride there was uneventful and when I arrived, I basically used my “gay-dar” to follow a group of men to help me find the right path. It worked like a charm, and before I knew it I was on the trail headed to the cove. What a “wonderland” of excitement, as the trail did not disappoint. Clusters of men in circle jerks, blowjobs and more. Single men sporting big bulges, with the help of cock-rings, inviting the passers by to have a feel. I bypassed all of them, probably because I was too intimidated, and spent the day at the cove. I spread my blanket, got some sun, went up to my waist in the frigid water and at one point talked with a guy who came up and sat with me. We exchanged numbers, but I never called him. Not really my fantasy Lands End experience, but I wasn’t exactly an aggressor either.

Around 4pm, I hiked back up the trail and to the bus stop to catch the #38 Geary home to the Tenderloin. The bus was packed, standing room only, because everyone was leaving the coast. It wasn’t until we got several blocks into our trip that things took a turn. At one of the stops, a tall gentleman came aboard and shimmied his way through the isle where we were all standing there crammed against each other. I thought to myself, OMG this guy looks just like JOHN BECK. John Beck starred alongside Susan Sarandon and Marie-France Pisier in what was my favorite book and movie of the time. The Other Side of Midnight was a #1 bestseller and hit movie with very controversial content, and I just loved it! Anyway, John Beck, to me, was the hottest thing since sliced bread.

 

John Beck with Susan Sarandon and Marie-France Pisier

John Beck with Susan Sarandon and Marie-France Pisier in The Other Side of Midnight

 

I must have been gawking at him because on his way down the aisle our eyes met and he ended up stopping right next to me. The bus continued on its journey and he kind of just stood there, one arm on the bar to keep balance and the other arm holding a book at his waist. He refused to make eye contact, just kept staring off into space, when suddenly (and this was impressive to me) he started rubbing his knuckles back and forth over my crotch, using the book he was holding as a shield. All the time not making contact but knuckling me non-stop which, at 18 years of age, immediately caused me to get a full boner. I was mortified when I saw a lady in one of the seats looking at me with judgment on her face because these shorts were so fucking short my underwear was pushing below the fringe, exposing my cloth covered boner. Oh the depravity! But it wasn’t enough to make me to move away from those knuckles. Finally, my own personal John Beck was making eye contact with me and cracked a very sexy smile. I was jumping out of my skin, but no words were exchanged. At some point seats opened up and we both took separate seats, still eyeballing each other. We both rode the bus until the end of the line and it wasn’t until we un-boarded that we first spoke. I told you I was shy.

 

Crowded #38 Geary bus

Crowded #38 Geary bus

 

We both over-shot our stops, had a laugh about it, then he invited me to his place. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. All too often when someone pops their cherry, like I did that day, it’s an uneventful situation. This one had it all: the anticipation, the courting, the foreplay (in silence), then the foreplay in bed followed by my first time bottoming. There was even a follow-up dinner date at his place, but that was it, I moved on. Of course, the first time hurt like hell and I really didn’t enjoy most of it, but he was very sweet and even bathed me in his tub afterwards because I was trembling. I guess it’s normal for middle-aged men to bathe their children!

I’m not saying, “Don’t Wear Short-Shorts on the #38 Geary to LANDS END,” but if you do, you might just get your anal cherry popped! (Again.)


Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment

That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?

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Odd People and Incidents on Public Transportation Redux

CTA train, Chicago

I was reading a piece lately about some rather deplorable conditions (bedbugs, ew!) and raunchy actions (primarily sex) on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains. The evidence originated from those who should know, the operators of the trains.

Now I am a regular rider (both by choice but also because of financial constraints), and I have noticed some odd behavior lately, and one could possibly attribute some of the aggressive behavior to the polarized climate of stress since the last election, but let's face it, the transportation is for the public. And no one in a public environment is ever completely placid and uniform, despite the presence of certain social etiquette mores.

I won't discuss the panhandlers or persons who sadly are suffering from some form of mental illness, specifically, as they, regardless of their individual backstories, have always been a constant presence on the subway. I will instead focus and comment on the more odd, and one even charming, people and actions I have noticed through the years.

A heavyset African guy plugged into headphones was falling asleep. His head gradually ended up on the shoulder of a young woman sitting next to him. She actually responded nicely, gently nudging him, and I heard her say, “You were falling asleep.” He looked dazed and immediately shut his eyes again. This falling asleep on people is not uncommon; a former coworker of mine told me she did the same, and she told me the nice elderly woman next to her just let her rest that way through most of the journey. I have never fallen asleep on anyone on the subway, though I have often through about resting my head on the chest and shoulders of a few hot guys here and there on various trips.
 

Two men leaning against each other on subway train

One rush hour, on a particularly crowded train car, a woman began flossing her teeth. I think this action ranks with the bedbugs. People were so jammed in and in obvious discomfort that this action went unnoticed, though a heard a few tsking sounds here and there. Ew!

I overheard a woman (and yes, I was listening), overall rather in coarse in clothing and flat of voice, firing someone. Yes, on a cellphone, and yes, on the subway. The corporate jargon words and phrases I heard included, “I don't think this position is working out for you.... as a manager, I've felt the need to discuss what is going on with you recently.... you are just not a good fit for us right now.” On the subway? Come on! Where is the sense of proportion, boundaries?

I've noticed these three incidents involved boundaries. People are doing actions in public that one normally does in private, either at home in the bedroom or the bathroom, or in an office.

And speaking of boundaries, I must admit, I've never seen any overt sexual activity on the subway, and I really don't remember any particularly passionate public displays of affection. But then, I don't take the CTA that late, when more of these incidents might occur, the results perhaps of intoxication other factors that cause one to break taboos.

And lately, because the majority of the riders are plugged into phones (perhaps the new conventional subway behavior), certain actions tend to stick out more, even a conversation. For example, I overheard a heated conversation between high school boys who looked like conventional nerds with big thick glasses, 90-pound weaklings who would get sand kicked in their faces by jocks, about obscure astronomical data. Something about orbits and velocity. Really advanced math. Well, in a few years, these kids will be making the big bucks and never have to ride the subway again.

Still, in my subway observations and musing, I would rather fantasize about the more conventional hot young business guys in their tight dress pants and gleaming brown derby shoes or the rougher types in athletic gear freeballing.
 

Manspreading guy in athletic gear

People on the subway have come a long way since Ethel refused to ride it in blue jeans when she had to take Lucy, vaguely disguised as a beekeeper, to the silversmith. Lucy had somehow gotten a loving cup/trophy stuck on her head.
 

Lucy on subway with loving cup on her head

But that's so much interesting than staring at a phone screen, eh?

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Featured

Weird People on the Bus

 

 

I Love Lucy subway image - woman wearing a vase on her head on a train with passengers staring at her


I've noticed lately there's almost a cult on youtube of people filming antisocial behavior on public transportation. The range of antisocial behavior is wide, but of course obvious brawls accompanied by foul language are almost sure to go viral, or at least get multitudinous views. 

Not surprising, this trend, in a world where senior citizen middle school bus monitors are brutally scapegoated (the Karen Klein incident) or where a girl is brutally attacked by her peers (not in public, but the video was disseminated on the Internet), and her attackers are even thrilled when they end up on the news after they get arrested (see the Lifetime movie, Girl Fight, based of course on a true story). Overall, these incidents (and many others) point to a disturbing pathology of voyeurism and narcissism. 
 

Karen Klein on bus - video stills

I'm not necessarily espousing the view of many “Make America Great Again” people who support the (ah, so ironic given my opinion here, the vulgar boor "President") where American was supposedly a kinder, gentler (maybe the word is genteel), less narcissistic place in their white bread 1950s. But in the days when one got dressed up to go outside (remember, Ethel Mertz would never wear blue jeans on the subway), one wonders if one's clothing might somehow reflect or even monitor one's behavior. Of course, one can act like a brute in a suit (again, look at the vulgar boor), but still, I wonder. 


I do wonder how many fights occurred on buses in the 1950s. But then, one couldn't just immediately whip out a phone and film them for posterity. 

Cell phone footage still from CTA bus fight

But when one takes “public transportation,” and in Chicago, that means the CTA (Chicago Transportation Authority), one is exposed to a vast array of people and their behavior. And in Chicago, especially, where “public transportation” is considered to be the province of lower-status people, there's a stigma. 

 

Crowded public transportation


One takes the bus only when one is too poor to own a car, or disabled, or old, or very young, or non-white. And one only takes it when one's car breaks down. And it's almost like if you own a car, even in densely populated areas where you don't really need one, you've made it. And the high-end developments going up almost always contain garages. 

And in Chicago, certain bus lines are stigmatized in the stigmatized CTA system and those who take it. The number 36, Broadway, carries a reputation for being the bus “weirdos” take. Yet that bus goes through an area of Chicago, Uptown, an area especially hard hit by the lack of governmental funding for certain programs released mentally disturbed people onto the streets from shelters and other facilities. 

I'm not certain which other routes carry this stigma, and I don't want to overgeneralize that buses in underserved areas carry passengers who are necessarily more dangerous or “weird.” Well, there was the woman on one bus on the South Side who claimed to be a bike; see this photo. 
 

Woman riding on bike rack on CTA bus

Anyway, I've been taking the CTA for a long time (for multiple reasons, and I fit some of the stereotypes of those who take it), and I've seen much, but an incident that occurred on the number 81, Lawrence bus, (which travels through one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Chicago) stood out. 
 

Number 81 Lawrence CTA bus

I was waiting for it with my friend from out of town. We had just returned from the casino. We saw a frowsy older woman (maybe sixtyish) with very short hair and very thick round coke-bottle glasses practically leap in front of the bus as it pulled into the terminal; yes, she leaped right in front of the yellow line. The sign tells you to not cross that yellow line. The bus driver, a heavyset African-American woman, yelled at her, harshly, claiming that she had almost hit her as the bus pulled in because she crossed the line. I got the sense this woman takes this bus regularly and always disobeys the sign, and may have been almost hit previous times as the bus pulled in. I heard her respond snarkily to the bus driver, “I have to be the first on the bus.” Uh, OK ... 

Yes, she was, and she sat down and pulled out what looked like some kind of Christian fundamentalist tract from one of her multiple bags (yes, a cliché, but watch for multiple bags, and I don't mean newly minted bags from a recent shopping trips to Macy's or Bloomingdales). My friend (we were sitting a couple of seat pairs behind her) saw she had made many notes on one of the pages. The theme of the tract was the usual societal decay apocalyptic doom end of the world scenario, and my friend later told me he was able to even decipher one of her notes on a section of the tract: It's the television, the source of evil. 

I must claim, though, based on what I said about these viral videos, she may not be that far off track, but I imagined her sitting in her tiny apartment wearing a tin foil hat monitoring the Satanic messages coming in from a test pattern. 

But then, and this is where her behavior became really bizarre and offensive, a young Hispanic woman got on with a baby in a stroller. The woman with the baby pulled down the disabled seats right in front of the weird woman so she could get the stroller out of everyone's way. The weird woman proceeded to hold her nose. She then retrieved from one of her multiple bags a small, sample-size container of Lysol and spray it around her. 
 

Lysol

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. My mouth remained open. Shock. 

Weird woman exited at Pulaski and Lawrence, not exactly a high-class area. In fact, it looked rather overcrowded and depressed. Gentrification had not arrived. Many people were thus waiting for buses. 

And no, I did not film this incident. I'm not sure what conclusions I can draw, but I get the sense, other than that the woman was obviously disturbed, that perhaps she was one of the people who lived around Pulaski and Lawrence in the sixties or even the fifties when the area was white, and I think, predominately Jewish. And she was still living there. But the world changed around her. She couldn't embrace the change as positive and took refuge in a reality that could be safe only by through segregation and scapegoating. 

And this disturbing dynamic is still occurring as youtubers film and view videos that show “the other” as someone or, more accurately, something, to be mocked and dehumanized by not only physical strangers, but by millions, even billions of impersonal, invisible voyeurs. 

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